Several family members had Covid but I dodged it despite us spending Boxing day together

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Several family members had Covid but I dodged it despite us spending Boxing day together

WE all know one – the person that has been exposed to Covid several times but has yet to catch it.

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Their sense of taste has remained intact and they have not suffered a sniffle, let alone a fever or a hacking cough.

Several family members had Covid but I dodged it despite us spending Boxing day together

Global Tech News Daily

Madeleine Black has repeatedly dodged Covid

Several family members had Covid but I dodged it despite us spending Boxing day together

Global Tech News Daily

Her husband Steven and daughters Anna, Mimi and Leila have all tested positive

But how? Even when they have been cooped up with infected family members.

Madeleine Black, 56, from Glasgow, has repeatedly dodged Covid even though husband Steven, 58, a managing director, and her three daughters Anna, 28, Mimi, 25, and Leila, 20, have all tested positive.

Madeleine, an author who also hosts the Unbroken: Healing Through Storytelling podcast, says: “My eldest daughter Anna caught Covid at the very start of the pandemic in February 2020.

“We were never tested but as far as I know I never caught it and since then, I’ve been lucky enough to avoid Covid on many occasions.

“My husband Steven tested positive in September 2021 and he wasn’t very well for several days.

“He felt as if he had a very bad cold and he was so tired he was having to nap in the afternoons.

“We’d slept in the same bed, shared meals together and watched telly on the sofa side by side.”

Madeleine kept testing, sure she was going to catch the virus, but never did.

She even went to three weddings in six days when restrictions lifted over the summer and still avoided catching it.

‘Super spreader’

She recalls: “At one of them, two couples from our table tested positive and the two-year-old flower girl, but not me.

“Leila caught Covid at university and I didn’t catch it from her, then finally, my youngest daughter Mimi caught it in December 2021 after the Omicron variant arrived.

“Her boyfriend and several other family members all tested positive after we’d spent Boxing Day together. Still, I have never tested positive.

“At times, it has been around me so much that I’ve worried I’m a super spreader and passing it on to others without knowing but I guess I’m just lucky.

“My mother hasn’t had it either so maybe it’s all in our genes.”

BBC Breakfast GP Dr Rachel Ward points to a couple of factors that could explain why some family members get Covid and others do not.

She says: “Some people might have had an undetected Covid infection previously, giving them immunity they don’t even know they have.

“People also respond slightly differently to vaccines and gain variable levels of immunity, and people in households will have been vaccinated at different times.”

Scientists still do not fully understand the immune response to Covid and what protection previous coronavirus infections can give us.

But Dr Rachel says: “In the meantime, the best way to ensure you have immunity is to get vaccinated.”

Early research suggests that some people may have natural immunity.

At times, it has been around me so much that I’ve worried I’m a super spreader and passing it on to others without knowing but I guess I’m just lucky. My mother hasn’t had it either so maybe it’s all in our genes.

Madeleine Black

When blood samples from thousands of people as far back as 2011 were studied, it was found that one in 20 already had cells in their immune system that could fight the virus.

It is thought that exposure to other coronaviruses, which cause common colds, may have provided the protection.

Other studies are currently searching for genetic clues to what might make some people more Covid-proof or, indeed, more susceptible, than others.

“The jury is still out and lots of research is being done in this field,” says Professor Deborah Dunn-Walters, chair of the British Society for Immunology’s Covid-19 Taskforce and Professor of Immunology at the University of Surrey.

She adds that the immune system is “incredibly complex”, involves lots of different cells and processes, and “is highly variable between different people”.

“It’s a bit like measuring the height of the population,” she explains. “There will always be differences and some people will be a lot taller than others.

“It’s the same with immunity — we all have immune systems that act in slightly different ways.

“Some of us are lucky and will produce a strong immune response, others will not.”

Professor Deborah says everyone will have had different levels of exposure to the Covid virus and that we have all had different vaccinations at different times.

But she adds: “Even if all those things happened at exactly the same time, there would still be differences in how our bodies react, which explains how different family members can react differently.”

“Some research suggests prior exposure to viruses like the common cold might help our immune systems fight Covid; others say the opposite.

‘Sharing meals’

“The different Covid variants people have caught might also make a difference to their immune response later on.”

Even before Covid, some people managed to catch every cold going each winter, while others sailed through snot-free.

Georgina Robinson, 30, from Petersfield, Hants, runs a design studio and has managed to avoid Covid so far, even after her two-year-old daughter Margot was diagnosed in December.

“We believe Margot caught Covid at nursery,” says Georgina. “She developed a cough and runny nose and a slight temperature for a few hours, so we took her for a PCR test and it came back positive.

“We were a bit worried about Margot as she was born premature and we worried she might be bad with it, but she didn’t suffer too badly.

“But even though we went about our lives as usual, neither I nor my husband Greg, 32, caught it.

“We were still changing her nappies, sharing meals together, kissing, cuddling and playing together.

“She even coughed into our mouths a few times!

“We tested repeatedly but once Margot’s isolation period was over, we were still negative and relieved to get outside again.

“We are both double jabbed and boosted so I guess that helped.”

But, it is not the first time the couple have escaped Covid.

“In August, we went to one of my best friend’s weddings and the day after the groom realised he’d lost his sense of taste and smell,” she says.

“He did a PCR and the result was positive. We’d spent a lot of time with him but again, we never got it.

“We just hope our good luck continues.”

Paul Smith, 38, a photographer, from Newquay, Cornwall, assumed he would catch Covid after his partner, Rhian, 36, tested positive in December — but he too escaped it.

“Rhian was a little unwell but luckily, nothing too severe,” says Paul. “In the days leading up to her positive test, we’d spent nearly all of our time together.

“I just presumed it was my time and even though I’d not had it before, lots of people were suddenly catching it as Omicron spread around the UK and I thought I wouldn’t be any different.

“We did initially try to stay away from each other, but we live in a small, two-bedroom home and it wasn’t really practical.

“There wasn’t enough space for us to avoid each other or live in separate rooms.

“We did try to be careful with our hygiene and were regularly wiping down surfaces and door handles, doing all the things we thought were sensible.”

For two days Paul, who is up to date with his jabs, slept on the floor in the spare room, did lateral flow tests and avoided people.

“I thought it was only a matter of time before my test was positive.

“I tested daily for two weeks but I never had any symptoms and that positive test never came.

In August, we went to one of my best friend’s weddings and the day after the groom realised he’d lost his sense of taste and smell. He did a PCR and the result was positive. We’d spent a lot of time with him but again, we never got it.

Georgina Robinson

‘Rarely pick up a cold’

“I’ve been pretty lucky throughout the pandemic.

“I’ve had lots of situations where I’ve been into somebody else’s office and then had a call the next day to say the person I was with has tested positive. I’ve repeatedly dodged it somehow.

“I don’t know why that is, though I am the sort of person who rarely gets ill.

“I’ve never had flu and I rarely pick up a cold. I may still catch it at some point and for now, I’ll carry on being as sensible as possible.”

As Plan B restrictions lift, remaining cautious and taking steps to boost your immune system is the best advice, Prof Deborah tells Fab Daily.

“Keeping up with vitamin D, a healthy diet and exercise can all help strengthen your immune system,” she says.

And while she admits our immune systems do become less efficient with age, she adds that, ultimately, the body has lots of different ways of combating infection.

“You have innate immunity, which we all have, and adaptive immunity, where the body learns to recognise an infection,” she explains.

“This is how the Covid vaccines work.

“You show the body a part of the virus that is harmless — the spike protein on the outside of the virus — and the body will adapt and learn what it needs to do to fight the virus without you ever having had the infection.”

Our Covid susceptibilities might all be different, but our bodies are all extremely clever when it comes to tackling infection.

And they are even better with a booster jab.

Several family members had Covid but I dodged it despite us spending Boxing day together

Georgina Robinson avoided Covid even after her two-year-old daughter Margot was diagnosed

Several family members had Covid but I dodged it despite us spending Boxing day together

Paul Smith also escaped Covid despite his partner Rhian testing positive

Shock X-rays reveal the big difference Covid vaccines really make in protecting your body

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